Mercy Kipchumba and Victor Kipchirchir are the new Eldoret City Marathon champions.
Kipchirchir was impressive in the men’s race clocking two hours, eight minutes and 56 seconds to finish ahead of Leonard Langat who timed 2:10:49. Emmanuel Bor sealed the podium in 2:11:10.
Kipchirchir, who trains in Kaptagat, broke from the leading pack after 21km mark and went all the way to the finish line.
“My preparations were good that’s why I was in good shape. I enjoyed the race that’s why I decided to break early and didn’t look back,” said Kipchirchir, the 2016 Valencia Marathon champion .
He said his participation in various half marathon races including the Discovery Half Marathon and Sotokoto Half Marathon gave him an edge.
“I normally mix running half and full marathon races just to make sure I’m in good shape for the next assignment and it has borne fruits today. The course was also good despite some few hilly places,” he added.
In the women’s race, Kipchumba – who ran in a pack of five athletes – maintained her pace alongside her training partner Judith Korir before surging forward in the last kilometre.
She crossed the line in 2:28:07 ahead of Judith Korir who timed 2:28:29 while Jackline Chelal was third in 2:29:46.
Kipchumba, who trains in Kapsait Athletics Training Camp under coach Erick Kimaiyo, said her training was boosted by world marathon record holder Brigid Kosgei.
“I have been training in the high altitude area and Brigid Kosgei has been motivating me to always do my best. That is why we were together all the way to the finish line,” said Kipchumba.
“Running with my training partner made it easier. It was all about teamwork because we didn’t know Valary Aiyabei was ahead but we managed to go past her. I then decided to go for the prize in the last kilometre.”
This was the first marathon for Kipchumba, who trains in Kapsait in Elgeyo-Marakwet County, and she is happy to have won.
“This is great for me because it was my first marathon race and I’m happy I managed to beat others and win the race. It was a tough race but the course was good,” said Kipchumba.
Her training partner Korir said she didn’t except to be in the podium after seeing a big number at the start line.
“My preparations went on well and I’m happy I managed to finish second. I didn’t expect to be in the podium but I’m really happy for my performance,” said Korir.
Both Kipchumba and Kipchirchir will take home Sh3.5 million in prize money with the top 20 athletes also being awarded.
World record holder Eliud Kipchoge congratulated the participants saying that the organisers did a good job but the most important thing is for everyone to make running a culture.
“We need to make anniversaries a running noble to make a change in the world as one way of keeping fit. Let’s all plant trees so that it can make a change in our environment and increase forest cover,” said Kipchoge.
The race, whose theme was ‘Climate Action’, was used to mobilise stakeholders to plant trees and increase the forest cover in the region.
Race director Moses Tanui was happy that the race was electronically timed for the first time this year which is a major boost as they seek to be elevated to either bronze, silver or gold label.
Uasin Gishu County governor Jackson Mandago congratulated the participants adding that it was a big challenge planning for the race due to the pandemic.
“It has been a long journey for us but we managed to beat all the challenges and organise a good race where we have seen new winners today. I know it will make good impact as they eye the next season,” said Mandago who also urged athletes to invest wisely because athletics is a short career.